Activation Lock and Landfills

in AppleOutsider
I’d like some input on this subject from you all. On the Apple discussion forums there are literally dozens of posts per day from people asking how to get around Activation Lock. The stories are varied and creative. Most say they “found” an iPad or bought a used iPhone from “somebody” or got something on eBay, Craig’s List or whatever. They want to know how to get the device working. When a volunteer posts link to an Apple support document showing what is need to do this they rarely reply back. I’m sure some of the requests are legitimate and some are just thieves trying to get around the lock. But the question I’m interested in is what happens to those devices when that person finds out it’s a useless brick. One of Apple’s biggest critics, iFixit, posits that they all wind up in trash cans  and landfills where they cause environmental damage. Thieves might also try to monetize their loot by selling them for parts that wind up in third party repair shops. I have no idea if or how big a market there is for iOS device “chop shops” like there are for automobile parts. 

So is there anything Apple could or should do to deal with this real word issue? Should there be any path for legitimate unlocking of iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc.? I know there is for family members to access the devices of deceased relatives that involves a death certificate and an executor's letter of office or court order.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    chabigchabig Posts: 641member
    Stolen devices do not exist in vast numbers, certainly not enough to matter is any significant way. Apple should do nothing beyond what they already do—activation lock exists, and is widely known to deter theft.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,165member
    Apples Trade in rules don't seem to ask if the device is activation locked at all.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,141member
    Most thieves will know by now that if a device is locked shut, there will be little they can do themselves. However, that doesn't mean the phone will go into the bin. They will be picking up multiple phones per day and will have someone to sell them to and it is that person who will be able to get the phone working.

    It would be nice if telecoms companies respected the IMEI blacklist but most do that. They want the phone in use so they can earn money off of it.

    One of the things 5G could allow us to do is truly make the phone unusable but once again, the carriers will possibly have the last word on that.

    In some cities pickpocketing is a chronic problem and there is a high turnover of phones which are still prized.

    I've only ever found two phones. One was locked and I found it on a train so I handed it over to lost property. The other was found in the street but unlocked. I checked the address book, found a listing called 'home' and someone answered. From there it was a case of arranging a time and place to hand it back to the owner.

  • Reply 4 of 4
    chabigchabig Posts: 641member
    mattinoz said:
    Apples Trade in rules don't seem to ask if the device is activation locked at all.
    They do. The instructions are clear. You don’t get the money if your device is activation locked.
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